Google “Instant” is an extension of the “Search Suggestions” functionality only now you see real time results for each iteration of your search term as you type. Google Instant has immediate SEO and SEM implications which will continue to be discovered in the coming weeks, but some initial thoughts:
- Search suggestions have occurred for some time, so in essence your overall SEO strategies should not change, just maybe some priorities. The expanded search suggestion box pushes the organic listings even further down the page so that only the first couple/few organic listings appear above the fold. Search users already were unlikely to click to page 2, now they may be unlikely to scroll down the page, and instead test out different search terms even before clicking. So optimization for the long-tail of your main keyword targets will be even more important as people will see more long-tail results and it is often more realistic to get a position 1-3 listing for those terms. Expect to see a drop in traffic from terms you may rank in positions 5+. Personalization of results will continue to be a factor- i.e. when I type in “b” I see listings for Boston, but other areas of the country see “Bank of America” listings at the top. Personalization of search results may make your ranking reports a little confusing but in the end should not affect the quality of your search traffic.
- When Instant was announced there was an initial flurry of comments that quality scores would plummet due to low click through rates. Google has anticipated this and any ads that show up for less than 3 seconds will not be affected. However it is time to strategize and test your SEM campaigns- i.e. will broad match be essential? or the opposite- do you have to bid separately for each search term derivative and create custom ad copy for each even more so now than before. As always your ad copy will need to be unique and compelling enough to attract a users attention with an even shorter attention span. Will search users focus even more on the top 1-3 paid listings where they will appear directly underneath the search suggestions? or does the dynamic changing of the listings actually drive eye paths to the listings on the right?
It will be interesting to see how Instant affects both SEO and SEM performance and we’ll be sure to share our findings and strategies as they are developed over the coming weeks/months.
In the meantime we thought it would be interesting to see what web sites / companies are strong enough to rank for the most initial of search iterations- the first alphabetic letter. If this is not an indicator of brand strength I do not know what is. (Keep in mind your results may differ due to geo location and your personal search history/habits.)
|Some fun facts: